Bergen is one of my favourite cities in the world – because of the history and the atmosphere in the city. After the adventure up beyond the Arctic Circle, yesterday I continued my Norwegian exploration back to the city of Bergen. Hugo drove all the way from Kongsberg to Bergen, via numerous fjords and meandering roads. I even got a chance to lie down in the snow – because we passed an area between Kongsberg and Bergen called the Hardangervidda, where there are still spots of snow even in Summer. Hardangervidda is also the site of one of the glaciers in Norway called Hardangerjøkulen. So yeah, for sure I got some pictures taken of me playing with the snow and even lying on it – and I was wearing shorts!
The trip took nearly eleven hours to take, including several photo and meal stops, as well as waiting for ferries – we had to take two ferries crossing the deep fjords. We also stopped at two waterfalls – one is quite an acrophobia-inducing fall called Vøringsfossen and the other is called Steinsfossen, just outside a village of Norheimsund where you can walk behind the actual fall. According to Hugo, if you drive straight through without any stops, the trip will take about seven hours to make.
We arrived in Bergen at about 9.00pm – the city was still abuzz with excitement. A lot of passers-by in the streets, enticed by the bright summer nights. Coming back to Bergen is like revisiting your old friend – I reminisced about the spots that I visited in 2002. The city is still as charming and exciting as I remembered it. We walked along the historic part of the city called Brygge – as well as numerous cobbled streets that add to the city’s charm. We had Indian food for dinner at a restaurant called Maharajah – the food was pretty good and authentic (as I knew it). Dining in a table across from ours were a group of executives – talking loudy in English and acted in a bravado manner that I know quite well. Seeing them acted so patronisingly towards the waiter and the way they were loud and arrogant made me remember and feel sick about corporate culture. I managed to take several photos of the city and captured the glistening lights of the houses dotting the hills around Bergen. Just charming, like an old friend who welcomes you with open arms.
Today we got up and headed over to Madam Bergen for breakfast. Madam Bergen and its fishcakes are one of Bergen’s specialties. I was introduced to it when I had it in 2002 and I wanted to relive the experience. At the end, I ended up having four fishcakes with various flavours – fishcake with leek, fishcake with cheese and bacon, plain fishcake as well as fishcake with salmon and catfish. They were all deilig – that’s Norwegian for delicious! We left Bergen at about 2.00pm, after some photo stops around the Brygge and other parts of the city. We walked past the fish market, the tourist shops, and the main shopping square called Torgalmenningen. I also revisited a smauet that I went to in 2002. Smauet is the local Bergen word for narrow streets – there are various narrow, meandering cobble-stoned smauets in Bergen and some of them are really photogenic. We managed to track down the same smauet that I photographed in 2002 – called Knøsesmauet. It’s still there, as charming as ever as well. We even saw a group of Spanish tourists at the mouth of Knøsesmauet and I’m sure they were also admiring the quaintness of the street.
From Bergen, we continued our journey to a small village called Rosendal in the Hordaland area. Rosendal is a charming village by the Hardangerfjord – we also had to take two ferry trips from Bergen over to Rosendal. We decided to break the trip back to Kongsberg in two legs and make the stop in Rosendal. As it turned out, I ended up having fish for dinner too – fish soup and trout! This day has turned out to be the fishiest day of my life! I traditionally don’t eat fish but as I mentioned earlier, you can’t really escape fish dishes if you are in Norway! I even had my first experience of having to fish out the bones from my trout – I usually don’t like eating fish because I hate fishy fish and I also hate the fact that I have to be careful with the fine bones. However, I had no escape from it when I saw that the trout that I ordered, still had its bones! Shock. Horror. At the end, with careful concentration, I managed to eat my trout without injuring my mouth nor my throat. Yeah, no drama here. Haha.
It’s so nice now to sit outside by the water, listening to the locals talking in singsongy Norsk, typing my blog entry whilst enjoying the bright summer sky. It’s nearly midnight here but it’s still very bright – and beside it’s the weekend too so there are people sitting around me, chatting away and having their drinks. I don’t need to get up early tomorrow as we don’t really have any plans for tomorrow other than returning back to Kongsberg – my Norwegian chapter of this trip is drawing to a close within a couple of days …